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Walter Gregg; PO Box 21693; Juneau, Alaska 99802; 907-586-6978 (voicemail)

September 8, 2022

The Honorable Jessica Rosenworcel, Chair
Federal Communications Commission
45 L Street NE
Washington, DC 20554

Suicide Prevention Hotline

Dear Ms. Rosenworcel:

The suicide prevention number 988 isn't serving everyone. The universal service subsidy isn't reaching many of the chronically unsheltered. Even those with a subsidized cell can't make that call if they're outside at 3 AM and the battery is dead. Why? Because in downtown Juneau, at least, there's no longer a single working outdoor courtesy phone let alone a cell charging station.

Please consider denying subsidies to cities that don't maintain any outdoor courtesy phones and cell charging stations. That would go a long way toward ensuring that 988 is universally available in actual fact. Cities will do what's needed keep those library and schoool Internet funds.

The outdoor courtesy phone is important. For many, getting a lifeline cell is a nearly insurmountable hurdle. Your purse was stolen, and with it your government issued photo ID -- one of the tickets required to get lifeline service. You were evicted, so you have no street address -- another requirement. Social services might be able to help, but you can't call because there are no outdoor courtesy phones. You have to approach another street person for help. Talk about vulnerable. It's also very unlikely someone will ask to borrow a friend's phone to make a 988 call.

Currently the unsheltered don't even get an outdoor charging station for their cell, if they're lucky enough to have one. Housed people with low incomes get direct subsidies. Rich folk's children get subsidized Internet in libraries and schools. In Juneau, tourists even get free WiFi in the summer. The unsheltered are completely left out.

New York City gets it. They have installed 1,878 outdoor courtesy kiosks covering all five boroughs. You can read about it at Link.NYC. They offer free phone service to the entire US, cell charging ports, and even free WiFi. No government issued photo ID is required.

The US won't have universal suicide prevention until the unsheltered have access to courtesy phones on which to dial 988. Obviously the Commission is constrained by statutes. But if there is authority to require outdoor phones for street people, please do so. The government interest is compelling. Leaving people out is unconscionable. Thank you.


/s/ mailed 09/08 FB box 9:50 PM

Walter Gregg

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